Lundy's Ghost

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Written by Gritfish

Lundy's Ghost

Fifty years ago, this wasn't called a "city".
It was eight small coastal towns and villages:
Road's End, Neotsu, Wecoma, Oceanlake,
Nelscott, Taft, Cutler City and Gleneden Beach.
Strung along twenty miles of seacoast reach,
Here was a share of Eden's beauty.

Red and white variegated daisies
And strawberries grew wild 
In our cottage yard
And in the pre-dawn morning fog, 
Small rabbits came to feed.
Silverspot butterflies fluttered in the sun, 
And one morning, up early
To fish for pinkfin perch, 
I saw a cougar
(Yes, a cougar—I checked the paw prints to be sure!)
Lope along the beach.
I have never seen another.

Across the road old Captain Lundy
Gazed through seaward-facing windows
And pondered the ocean's timeless quandary.
When the westward setting summer sun
Painted Lundy's parlor orange-red, he
Would tell the children how it had been 
Before his retirement from the sea.

From our kitchen window to the north
Could be seen
Cascade head enshrouded in mist 
And ancient trees.
A short walk north along the sand
Brought one to horses and a meadow.
We called it "Indian land"
Because the Salish people
Kept their horses there.
Two miles south from our house, another wonder:
There a small creek flowed
Across the beach into the ocean.
In the fall, when tide and surf were high,
Coho salmon would skitter across the beach
Into the lake to spawn.

Lundy is gone.
His house has fallen into disrepair, needs paint;
The windows are covered with dirt and sea mist,
Like cataracts.
No matter.
The ocean can no longer been seen through them.
The Pink Flamingo Motel blocks the view 
And now Lundy's parlor is illumined all night
With garish pink from the neon sign.
(How ironic! There had never been a flamingo
On this cool and foggy northern coast
Until the one on the neon sign 
And the plastic ones that they sell inside.)

Coastal pines used to drop their cones 
Onto the gravel road in front of Lundy's 
But now the only cones there now 
Are sticky paper ones 
That once held cotton candy.

There have been no rabbits in our yard for years.
The coho are gone like Lundy, too.

Cascade Head has been purchased by a conservancy, thank God!
The last of the silverspots, now endangered, live there.
But we can't see the headland anymore
Because a two-story rental house obstructs our view,
Thanks to lack of zoning laws.

Horses no longer run on the Indian land;
Instead, video poker and roulette
Are played in the casino where the horses were.
The meadow is an asphalt parking lot
And when it rains, oil and grease
Wash down onto the beach
And kill the mole crabs
That fed the pinkfin perch
That fed the bright-eyed, curious harbor seals
That would follow me, in the third set of waves,
As I ran along the beach.

And as for those eight towns and villages,
They have conglomerated into a strip mall
Called "Lincoln City" but dubbed by some
"Those Twenty Miserable Miles".

Lundy's ghost moves through the fog,
Pondering the degradation and the change.
Ah, Lundy, fortunate Lundy,
No longer fixed in time and space,
You are free to travel back to when
This was a fair and different place.
 

Gritfish © 2002

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